The Effect of history of science instruction on elementary students' scientific literacy

Cansız, Mustafa
The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of history of science instruction on elementary students' scientific literacy. Specifically, the effectiveness of history of science instruction over curriculum-oriented instruction was examined in terms of four central components of scientific literacy, which are science process skills, understanding of human circulatory system concepts, attitudes toward science, and nature of science views. A total of 95 sixth-grade students from four classes participated to the study. Among them, two classes were randomly assigned as experimental group and other two as comparison group. Experimental group students learned the circulatory system topic through the history of circulatory system, integrated into the curriculum-oriented instruction. The comparison group was engaged in curriculum-oriented instruction, but without integration of history of circulatory system. Science Process Skills Test, Circulatory System Concepts Test, Test of Science Related Attitudes, and Views on Nature of Science Elementary School Version were administered to the participants as pretest, posttest, and follow-up test. The results of this study showed that two instructions did not give an advantage over each other in terms of science process skills. On the other hand, history of science instruction was found to be more effective than curriculum oriented instruction in terms of retaining circulatory system concepts, promoting students' favorable attitudes toward science, and improving nature of science views. Therefore, it is recommended that curriculum developers should incorporate history of science into science curriculum implemented in Turkey, and science teachers should use it in their classrooms more actively.